Dialectical Spiritualism: Carl Jung, Part 5

BY: SUN STAFF - 25.10 2017

Conversations wtih HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, excerpted from  Dialectical Spiritualism: A Vedic View of Western Philosophy.

Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961)

Hayagriva dasa: When in Calcutta in 1938, Jung met some celebrated gurus, but generally avoided so-called holymen. "I did so because I had to make do with my own truth," he writes, "not to accept from others what I could not attain on my own."

Srila Prabhupada: On the one hand, he says he wants a guru, and then on the other, he doesn't want to accept one. Doubtless, there are many cheating gurus in Calcutta, and Jung might have seen some bogus gurus he did not like. In any case, the principle of accepting a guru cannot be avoided. It is absolutely necessary.

Hayagriva dasa: Concerning consciousness after death, Jung feels that the individual must pick up the level of consciousness which he left.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, and therefore according to that consciousness, we have to accept a body. That is the process of the soul's transmigration. An ordinary person can see only the gross material body, but accompanying this body is the mind, intelligence, and ego. When the body is finished, these remain, although they cannot be seen. A foolish man thinks that everything is finished at death, but the soul carries the mind, body. This is confirmed by Bhagavad-gita: na hanyate hanyamane sarire. "He is not slain when the body is slain." (Bg. 2.20)

Hayagriva dasa: Jung believes that individual consciousness cannot supersede world consciousness. He writes: "If there were to be a conscious existence after death, it would, so it seems to me, have to continue on the level of consciousness attained by humanity, which in any age has an upper thought variable limit."

Srila Prabhupada: It is clearly explained in Bhagavad-gita that although the body is destroyed, the consciousness continues. According to one's consciousness, he acquires another body, and again in that body, the consciousness begins to mold its future lives. If a person were a devotee in his past life, he would again become a devotee after his death. Once the material body is destroyed, the same consciousness begins to work in another body. Consequently, we find that some people quickly accept Krsna consciousness, whereas others take a longer time. Bahunam janmanam ante (Bg. 7.19) This indicates that the consciousness is continuing, although the body is changing. Bharata Maharaja, for instance, changed many bodies, but his consciousness continued, and he remained fully Krsna conscious. We may see a person daily, but we cannot visualize his intelligence. We can understand that a person is intelligent, but we cannot see intelligence itself. When one talks, we can understand that there is intelligence at work. When the gross body is dead and no longer capable of talking, why should we conclude that the intelligence is finished? The instrument for speech is the gross body, but when the body is finished, we should not conclude that consciousness and intelligence are finished. After the destruction of the gross body, the mind and intelligence continue. Because they require a body to function, they develop a body, and that is the process of the soul's transmigration.

Hayagriva dasa: Still, what of Jung's contention that the individual's level of consciousness cannot supersede whatever knowledge is available on this planet?

Srila Prabhupada: No, it can supersede, provided we acquire knowledge from authority. You may not have seen India, but a person who has seen India can describe it to you. We may not be able to see Krsna, but we can learn of Him from an authority who knows. In Bhagavad-gita, Krsna tells Arjuna that there is an eternal nature:

paras tasmat tu hhavonyo 
'vyakto' vyaktat sanatanah 
yah sa sarvesu bhutesu 
nasyatsu na vinasyati

"Yet there is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is." (Bg. 8.20). On this earth, we encounter temporary nature. Here, things take birth, remain for some time, change, grow old, and are finally destroyed. There is dissolution in this material world, but there is another world in which there is no dissolution. We have no personal experience of this other world, but we can understand that it exists when we receive information from authority. It is not necessary to know it by personal experience. Paroksaparoksa. There are different stages of knowledge, and not all knowledge can be acquired by direct perception. That is not possible.

Hayagriva dasa: Jung believed in the importance of consciousness elevation. He writes: "Only here, in life on earth, can the general level of consciousness be raised. That seems to be man's metaphysical task "

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, our consciousness should be developed. As stated in Bhagavad-gita:

prapya punya-krtarh lokan 
usitva sasvatih samah 
Surinam srimatam gehe 
yoga-bhrasto ' bhijayate 

athava yoginam eva 
kule bhavati dhlmatam 
etaddhi durlabhatararh 
loke janma yad idrsam 

tatra tarn buddhi-samyogam 
labhate paurva-dehikam 
yatate ca tato bhuyah 
samsiddhau kuru-nandana

"The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy. Or he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Verily, such a birth is rare in this world. On taking such a birth, he again revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success." (Bg. 6.41-43)

So if one's yoga practice is incomplete, or if he dies prematurely, his consciousness accompanies him, and in the next life, he begins at the point where he left off. His intelligence is revived. In an ordinary class, we can see that some students learn very quickly, while others cannot understand. This is evidence for the continuation of consciousness. If a person is extraordinarily intelligent, his previously developed consciousness is being revived. The fact that we have undergone previous births is also evidence for the immortality of the soul.